Czech Republic
 
The Czech Republic is where east meets west. It may only be small (no bigger than Scotland) but this historic hidden jewel deep in the heart of Europe is jam packed with stunning fairytale castles, medieval towns, chic spa resorts and picturesque national parks. And of course, it was also the birthplace of the world’s finest beer.
Following the ‘Velvet Divorce’ in 1993 from Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic encompasses two geographical and cultural sections - Bohemia and Moravia. The Bohemian spa towns and laid-back Moravian wine villages welcome visitors with their relaxed rural lifestyle. With more than 100 castles dotted around the countryside, there is a vast amount for visitors to explore.
Practically everyone who visits the Czech Republic goes to Prague . Often cited as the most beautiful capital in Europe, its imposing castle, museums and galleries prove to be too enticing to ignore. It also makes an excellent base for exploring further afield such as the spa resort of Karlovy Vary, the historic towns of Mělník and Kutná Hora, and castles like Karlštejn and Konopiště.
Despite its growing popularity as a tourist destination, Prague has still maintained its distinctive character whilst transforming into a modern city boasting great hotels, restaurants and entertainment. 
But the Czech Republic is a lot more than just its capital. Outside the city is an unspoiled expanse of mountains, spotted with small towns and villages. Boars, bears and deer still roam the mountains and forests with over a third of the country covered in woodland.  
The Czech countryside is also a major draw card for hikers, cyclists and cross-country skiers, with hundreds of kilometres of marked trails networking the landscape.
The currency is the Czech Krona or Crown (CZK). Foreign currency and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at all banks, authorised exchange offices, main hotels and road boarder crossings. Traveller’s cheques are rarely accepted (for payment) in hotels and almost never in restaurants. To avoid additional exchange charges, you are advised to take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars, Euros or Sterling.
All the major credit cards are accepted and ATMs are widely accessible.

 

Prague
 
Introduction
 
Prague is one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Europe.
Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism, Prague has thrown off the years of repression with eagerness and is enticing tourists with its fairytale quality and romantic atmosphere.  
From magnificent Prague Castle to Wenceslas Square in the heart of the city, Prague rewards visitors with a diverse range of attractions.
The historical centre of the city is compact and its attractions are all within easy reach. The core comprises the Castle District (Hradèany) west of the River Vltava, and the Old and New town (Staré Mesto and Nové Mesto) to the east, joined by the famous Charles Bridge which serves as a timeless symbol of Prague's medieval history. The Jewish quarter (Josefov Ghetto), adjacent to the old town square, is a constant reminder of the Nazi occupation during World War Two.
The Old Town is a maze of alleyways, cobbled streets and passages winding their way towards the beautiful Old Town Square, Staromestské Námestí. The New Town, in contrast, is modern and has been laid out in wide boulevards, most famously Wenceslas Square, the fashionable shopping boulevard leading up to the foot of the grand National Gallery.

It is also a cultural hot spot with classical music concerts, opera and ballet, as well as the many art galleries around the city. This beautiful city, built along the river and on the surrounding hills, has never ceased to capture the hearts and imagination of visitors, painters, photographers and poets.
 
See & Do
To fully appreciate all that Prague has to offer it may be worth while investing in a Prague Card. This entitles you to free admission to 40 top attractions and, for an optional extra fee you will be entitled to free public transport over a three day period.
The city has a vast amount to offer visitors, below are just a few of the possibilities that await you:
  • Prague Castle
  • St Nicholas’s Church
  • Mala Strana & funicular railway
  • St Vitas Cathedral
  • Wenceslas Square
  • Charles Bridge
  • Old Town Square
  • Astronomical Clock
  • Jewish Quarter
  • Sternbersky Palace
  • Konepruske Jeskyne
  • Coronation Chamber
  • Municipal House
  • Museum of Decorative Art
  • Mucha Museum
  • Wax Museum Prague
  • The Castle District
  • The Jewish Museum
  • Vyšehrad
  • Museum of Communism
  • Miluniæ & Gehry’s Dancing House
  • Petrin Observation Tower
  • Mozart Museum
  • National Museum
  • Prague Planetarium
  • Prague Zoo
  • Sternberg Palace
  • Stromovka Park
  • Toy Museum

 
Shopping
In recent years Prague’s shopping experience has seen a great change. More and more western names are appearing on the streets and in the malls. Therefore you may find that in the main shopping areas, the goods available will be very similar to those you can purchase at home.
The main shopping area extends from Wenceslas Square, past Na Prikope and into Republic Square, where you will find names as recognisable as M&S, Debenhams and H&M. The Parizska is where you’ll find international boutiques but for small shops, art galleries and souvenirs, the best place to head is Mala Strana and Old Town Square.
Many new large shopping malls have opened in Prague many of which also house restaurants, food courts and cinema complexes. They are all home to major international brand names. Here are just a few:
  • Myslbek Shopping Gallery, 30 shops and restaurants
  • Černá růže (Black Rose), 50 shops and restaurants
  • Slovansky dům (Slavic House), restaurants, shops, large outdoor garden & cinema
  • Palladium, 5 storeys, 170 shops and 30 restaurants
  • Palace Flóra, 4 floors, 120 shops, cinema complex and IMAX
  • Novy Smichov, 150 shops, food court and cinema
  • Arkády Pankrá
  • Etropoe Zličin (on the outskirts of Prague) with cinema complex
If you want to get away from the run of the mill western shopping experience, you can always head for the large daily open-air market Havelská Market. This can be found between Wenceslas square and the Old Town Square. It is the ideal place to pick up ceramics, textiles, leather goods and the ever popular souvenirs of Czech crystal and glassware.
 
Food & Drink
Prague is not famous for its cuisine, but it has plenty of superb national and international restaurants to eat, drink and people watch in. Delicious dishes are washed down with the fiery Czech liqueur Bacherovka or the famous Budvar and Pilsner Urquell beers.
Restaurants are situated all over the city but the largest concentration is in the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town. Below is a selection of some of the best places you might like to try during your stay:
  • V Zátisi
  • U Tri Pstrosu
  • Zlata Praha
  • Tosca
  • Marie Teresie
  • Stoleti
  • Bertramka
  • Tamura
  • Huang He
  • Bellevue
  • Francouzská Restaurant Municipal House
  • U Fleku (the world’s oldest pub and brewery)
  • Buffalo Bill’s
  • U Vejvodu
  • Rybi Trh
  • Banditos Restaurant and Bar
  • Trattoria Cicala
  • Cowboys, Steaks and Cocktails
 
 
Entertainment
There is plenty of choice to keep you occupied after dark. There are numerous cinemas (especially in the shopping centres), theatres and opera (the best place for this is Státni Opera). Live music also features heavily on the nightlife scene and weekly listings of music events can be found in Prague Post. Some of the venues where live music can be enjoyed are:
  • Malostranské Beseda
  • Lucerna Musci Bar
  • Jazz & Blues Café
  • U Malého Glen
  • Reduta
As for bars and clubs, there is a huge amount of choice; below are just some of the names to look out for:
 
Bars
  • Zhlato Tygra
  • Bazaar Mediterranee
  • U Cerneho Vola
  • Hapu
  • Usadu
  • M1 Secret Lounge
  • Think Pink
  • Atmosphere
 
Clubs
  • Akropolis
  • La Habana
  • Manes
  • Roxy
  • Radost/FX
  • Karlovy Lázné
  • Jo’s Garage
  • La Casa Blu
  • Banana
  • Lavka bar
  • Vertigo
  • N11
  • Dublex
There are also a number of events that take place throughout the year such as:
  • January – New Year concerts at Villa Bertramka
  • April – Witches Night
  • April/May – Europe’s largest amateur dancing event
  • May/Jun – Prague Spring International Music Festival
  • June/July – Dance Prague
  • September – Prague Autumn International Music Festival
  • December – St Sylvester’s Day
 
Excursions
Although there are numerous attractions to see in Prague, you may want to take the opportunity of exploring more of the surrounding area during your stay. Your hotel will be able to provide you with details of local tours that are available, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:
  • Karlovy Vary (Spa Town)
  • Karlstein Castle
  • Kunta Hora
  • Konopiste Castle
  • Krivoklat Castle
  • Vyšehrad fortress
  • Troja (chateau)
  • Cesky Krumlov (Bohemian Town)
 
 
Health & Safety
You are advised not to drink the tap water in Prague as it is highly chlorinated and may cause illness. Bottled water is widely available.
Treatment from doctors and standard dental treatment is free to all EU citizens but you are strongly advised to take our medical insurance before travelling.
Crime rates are low but you should be aware that pick-pockets may operate in crowded areas. You are therefore advised to take the usual precautions with your valuables when in crowded tourist areas.
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